Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Isn't it amazing when you get home from vacation and then begin your life once again that it seems like you never went on vacation at all? I always anticipate that my vacation-feeling will spill over into reality for at least a few days, but I am usually wrong.

Three of my friends and I went to our annual trip to Chautauqua Institute in New York state. We stayed in our usual cottage, called Bee Haven. Every year, we leave a little something behind and this year was no different -- this year we left a one-of-a-kind throw quilt to match the living room sofa with appliqued bees in the corners. Of course, I totally forgot to take a photo of the finished piece, so you'll have to wait until next year.

The reason we always go to Chautauqua the third week end of September is to be part of the annual Quilting Around Chautauqua event. Every year, it seems to get bigger -- there were more than 800 quilts on display from local guilds and somthing like 80 vendors. A totally awesome event -- difinitely one to go to if you ever have the chance. Each year there is a guest speaker -- this year it was Jinny Beyer!

We love Chautauqua so much that we actually leave on Wednesday so that we can have a few days of quilt retreat with friends, sewing machines, lots of Jane Austen movies, and even our laptops before the hustle and bustle of the show, which is actually on Saturday and Sunday.

I hope you enjoy my photos!

I have a thing for pink cottages! The Bell Tower celebrated its 100th birthday this year! The front of the hotel!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cuddle Quilts

If you read my previous blog, you know that I've been hustling to get emergency quilts done for the children. I was fortunate that I had one quilt already finished in my "stash" of finished pieces. So, really I only had to make 1 quilt in 48 hours. Which I did. See the pic, below. I took the quilts to the funeral home with the intention of leaving them for the children, but was lucky enought to ge tto give the quilts to the children personally. I hope those quilts provide something to hold on to in the middle of the night when they're missing their Mom the most.

You'll notice that these quilts aren't "show" quilts but simply cuddle quilts that can be used up.

I'm also happy to report that I shipped my three quilts to Quilter's World magazine today. I really consider that an achievment -- three quilts for one issue -- the April 2012 issue. I hope you check it out.

In the meantime, I have a great baby quilt featured in the Quilter's World October 2011 issue. It's on page 15 -- check it out. Super quick and lots of fun.

One last thought for tonight -- in two days I'm headed to my annual quilt-cation with my three friends Mary Lee, Leslie, and Cathey. We're headed to Chautauqua Institute for the Quilting Around Chautauqua event. The event is actually on Saturday and SUnday, but we start the week end early -- on Wednesday so we can get in some serious quilting. Stop by soon for more about Chautauqua!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quilters Respond to Tragedy

In my community yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy. A man shot his way into an ex-girlfriend's home in the middle of the night and murdered her. Then he shot himself. Upstairs sleeping were the woman's two children. I saw it on the news and thought "how terrible." This morning, while reading the newspaper I saw the name of the victim. It looked very familiar to me so I began trying to place it. Then I knew. The woman killed was the mother of two children I had in my prekindergarten classroom anout five years ago.

I flashed back to a similar tragedy that happened perhaps eight or so years ago when the father of a former preschool student shot and killed the mother and then himself while the three young children watched. At the time, my response was to make quilts for the three children -- my former preschool student and her brother and sister. I organized my coworkers and we whipped out three throw sized quilts for the children.

I'm already beginning quilts for these latest two children who are now motherless in a blink of an eye.

The area where I live is quite rural and it scares me to death that even bad things happen here. To people I know. To children that I loved and once taught.

Then I think of my response as a quilter to such tragedies and I think of all of the other quilters out there in the world who respond in a similar way in similar situations. And I know I'm not alone. Quilts of Valor.....Project Linus -- these are but a few charitable quilt projects. I know that great numbers of quilts were sent to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. What about September 11th? I bet there were a lot of quilts donated to victims and their families.

The incredible capacity that quilters have to care for complete strangers and their troubles is a humbling thought. Quilters are some of the most special people in the world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quilts Talk....REALLY!

It's hard to believe that today is the 10th anniversary of September 11th. It was aday that our nation will never forget. I hope everyone takes a moment today to reflect on all of the lives lost on that day as well as on your own life and how you can make a difference in the world. Perhaps today you planned to make a quilt and donate it to a charity. Or to volunteer your time to help others in your community or in someone else's community. It doesn't really matter what you do, just do something.

The past few weeks have really flown by as I've picked apples, made applesauce and apple butter, prepared and froze garden produce for the winter.... Oh, I've been working like a crazy woman on the three quilts for Quilter's World, too. I'm almost done and hope to ship them at the end of the week. At the latest, I need to ship them next Tuesday.

I promised to share a photo of one of my new quilt acquisitions -- the one from my Berlin Ohio trip a few weeks ago. So, here it is:

It really isn't anything spectacular, but this quilt told me a story. I fell in love with the story of this quilt and brought it home with me for a pretty reasonable price.

The center part of this quilt (the pieced blocks and alternate pink squares) was made in the circa 1900-1920 era. The top wasn't put together very expertly so I'm guessing that it was never completed into a quilt.....that is until the Depression. The person who completed this quilt (it could have been the original quilter, but who knows?) added chunks of opened up feedsacks to three of the edges to make the quilt top big enough. Big enough for what? you may ask. Well, the batting inside this quilt is a worn out indigo and blue quilt! The backing of the whole completed piece was made from several opened out plain off-white rough feedsacks. The back was brought around the front and whip-stitched for binding and the quilt was tied with multi-colored crochet floss.

It's too bad the "filler" quilt is in such bad condition. I can just make out the pattern, swastika blocks alternating with indigo squares set on point. It was probably made 1880-1900. Perhaps I can reproducs it......

Speaking of quilts that talk to us, here is a photo of an orphan quilt made by a new orphan quilter friend, Nancy. Nancy kindly emailed the picture so that I could share it with you. SHe bought the wonderful set of scrappy late 1800's strip blocks at an antique shop. She lovingly completed the blocks into a beautiful orphan quilt. Kudos, Nancy -- way to rescue orphan blocks and give them a permanent home!

If you've made an orphan quilt (with antique or even modern blocks) email me a photo -- I'd love to show it off on my blog. My email is:

Oh, one last photo about quilts talking. This orphan quilt, although completed in the 1980's or 1990's has a fantastic collection fo 1940's blocks! These blocks have incredible fabrics. Eventually I'll probably take the blocks out of the quilt and reset them in something more appropriate. This quilt really talked to my shih tzu buddy, Gizmo!